Replacing Old Windows? Check for Asbestos in the Putty
Before replacing old windows check to make sure the putty does not contain asbestos.
When people decide to start renovating homes in some cases one of the first things replaced are old windows and frames. With the high cost of heating it makes perfect sense to replace old drafty windows with new modern windows.
But, did you know that asbestos was added to the putty around the windows and frames? This putty was used for sealing, added strength and fire resistance. Some types of putty that contain asbestos are intumescing, meaning that when the putty is exposed to heat, it swells, increasing in volume but decreasing in density. As the putty ages and weathers it starts to crack or crumble wearing away and that’s when asbestos can become friable. When work is being done to the windows this is when asbestos fibers can be released into the air and breathed into the lungs.
Even if the putty is breaking off in chunks you should not start removing it until a sample of the putty is tested for asbestos. Don’t’ even consider using a knife or chisel to dig out pieces, as it breaks apart in chunks it could release asbestos fibers into the air. We also do not recommend using a dry cloth to remove dust and bits of putty or knocking out panes of glass and frame until testing is done. But, even more dangerous is the use of high speed power tools such as sanders, drills or grinders. Use of power tools would create dust that could very easily send asbestos fibers into the air taken in to the lungs.
It’s the responsibility of the homeowner to protect both workers and occupants against deadly asbestos while renovating your home. One quick phone call to Stutters to for check for asbestos before any renovations to windows start.